Somewhat densely plotted, this is nonetheless an intriguing study of Hamas’ tortuous movement from “pebbles to power…from...

HAMAS

FROM RESISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT

Historical survey rather than a polemical view of the problematic Islamist movement that has both sounded the Palestinians’ needs and plagued Israel since the group's founding in 1987.

In this capable, evenhanded work of research, proficiently translated from the Italian, journalist and historian Caridi carefully tracks the founding of Hamas from its offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood to its West-defining period of terrorism to its eventual, effectual embrace of political representation since 2006. With the de facto protectorate of Egypt over the Palestinian territories after Israel’s 1967 war, the Gaza Strip became the locus of the Islamic resistance movement that evolved from the Muslim Brotherhood, implementing social programs as well as political education in rebuilding the Palestinian identity. The First Intifada of 1987 ignited Hamas and prompted its fledgling leaders to the nettlesome Palestinian National Congress, calling for the elimination of Zionism, which has stuck in Israel’s craw ever since, proving nothing but an embarrassment to the movement. Caridi claims that the Charter’s “significance has in actual fact been overestimated,” and more or less supplanted by more conciliatory language once Hamas acquiesced to participate in elections in 2006, yet the anti-Israel phrasing was never revoked. Women make up a good half of its membership, although polygamy is accepted and the wearing of the hijab expected; terrorism in the form of suicide bombing was activated in retaliation for Baruch Goldstein’s shooting inside Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994, killing 29 Muslims; and the movement has stubbornly opposed the Oslo peace negotiations. Hamas’ relationship with Fatah (Yasser Arafat’s political organization) has been prickly, and its 2006 election victory has brought it to power as well as to grief.

Somewhat densely plotted, this is nonetheless an intriguing study of Hamas’ tortuous movement from “pebbles to power…from terrorist attacks to ministries.”

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60980-382-7

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Seven Stories

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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